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to our economy. not right now. >> coming up, who do americans blame for the stalemate in washington? good afternoon to you. i'm craig melvin. you are watching msnbc, the place for politics. this hour we are going look at the big picture. what's happening on capitol hill right now and how congressional leaders are working with the white house. plus, what it all means for your paycheck as higher payroll taxes are only days away unless congress acts. one step forward, two steps back. president obama and republican lawmakers have been dancing that waltz for six weeks now, but the music stops when the countdown clock at the bottom of your screen runs out. so where do fiscal cliff talks stand at this critical hour? nbc's kristen welker is on the north lawn and luke russert are both following developments this saturday afternoon. kristen, i'll start with you. any indication at this particular point as to what's happening behind closed doors this afternoon? >> reporter: well, i think most of the action is going on in the hill where staffers with majority leader reid and minority leader mcconnell
enforcement act that, if passed, would take away the ability from washington, d.c. to determine its own gun laws. perhaps it should be no surprise you, the card carrying member of the nra who rode to victory with tea party backing, made your position clear when you first ran for congress, saying quote, i stand strongly in support of our second amendment rights. the constitution grants south carolinans the right to defend themselves and their families and i will continue fighting to make sure that right is not weakened in any way. really, congressman, all of this when of the 142 guns used by the perpetrators of the 62 mass murders since 1982 in this country, three-quarters of those guns were obtained legally. all of this when in 2008 and 2009, gun deaths were the leading cause of death among black teens. let's be clear. even though you stand to be the only african-american senator in 2013, this is not about race. you said when you chose not to join the congressional black caucus that your campaign was never about race, and that's fine. you will be the senator representing the great state of
for us. >> reporter: thank you. >> joining us now from washington, d.c., is connecticut congressman john larson issuing a statement asking colleagues to pass tougher gun control laws. to do nothing is to be complicit in those assaults. good morning congressman. >> good morning. >> let me offer my condolences in the tragedy in your state. yesterday, all we knew was the name of the murder. now we know the names of the victims. i'm happy to shift our focus to them, but it's so hard to hear their names, to hear how they died. is it now, finally the moment when congress and the president will act on gun control? >> you certainly have to hope so. i know in talking to friends and family as you just reported, the more you hear these details, the more horrific it gets. the innocence of these kids and to see the pictures and there's just -- we are broken hearted in connecticut. there's a point where you have to say enough. this is -- listen, i said in that release, i'm not sure that all the measures that we would hope to enact would ever be able to prevent an incident like this. i know, certainly,
in seattle, washington, five people killed and one wounded with a 45 caliber handgun. on july 20th, in a movie theater in aurora 50 people killed with a ar semiautomatic rifle. and then a temple at a sikh temple. and then four days ago at a mall in portland oregon, two killed and one wounded with an ar-15 s semiautomatic rifle. yesterday december 14th, at an elementary school in newtown, connecticut, 20 children, and 66 adults killed and one person wounded. two semiautomatic handguns and rifle caliber shell casings were found at the scene. that is only a partial list for one year. each time the sound of gun fire followed by our nation's silence about gun policy. at the table with me is msnbc contributor ari melder, and joy reid and our mental health expe expert. michael, i want to start with you. to have a conversation about gun control, it seems that certain guns will increase body counts full stop. >> what do you need it for? none of us need the highly technical forms of weaponry available now, and distressingly so to any person, especially a mentally ill person who does not have
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